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BenQ DW1620 DVDR

After over four years this is the first time MHW has ever done a review of a CD/DVD burner. The reason for this is that most of the reviews for those products I had read in that time focused largely on speed. The problem, then, was that since I only burned three or four discs a week at most, that wasn't what I was most interested in reading about--or for that matter--writing about. Other factors such as compatibility, reliability, burning software etc. were more important to me than whether drive A could write a disc a few seconds faster than drive B. One of our sponsors, though, asked me to look at the BenQ DVD±RW/R drive so I thought, What the heck? Why not test out this benchmark light burner review format I had been thinking of. I hope you, the readers, like it. If you don't, blame me, if you do, blame Geeks.

BenQ Box

Features:

The WOPC II (Walking Optimal Power Control II) algorithm evaluates the writing quality constantly and adjusts the writing power accordingly in order to ensure the best possible writing quality over the entire disc.

The BLER OCP (Block Error Rate Optimal Power Control) further enhances the writing quality near the end of the disc, where the risk of warping is higher.

Tilt Control further ensures the writing quality is repositioning the OPU (Optical Pickup Unit) to maintain a 90-degree angle between the laser beam and the disc surface at all times, even on warped discs.

BenQ Diagram

Over Speed Writing Prominently featured on the front of the BenQ box is a sticker which states the BenQ can burn certain 8X media at 12X or higher. I had initially planned to test this claim, but the local store where I buy my media doesn't stock 8X media anymore. If you happen to have squirreled away a whole mess of 8X media you might want to check out this BenQ link which lists the media brands they over-speed tested.

Specifications:

-Interface: E-IDE/ATAPI
-Writing Speed: DVD±R: 16X, DVD±RW: 4X, DVD+R DL: 2.4X, CD-R: 40X, CD-RW: 24X
-Reading Speed: DVD+R/-R/+RW/-RW: 16X max, DVD-ROM: 16X, CD-R/RW: 40X
-Access Times: DVD 120 ms, CD 120 ms
-Buffer Cache: 2MB
-Disc Formats Supported: (DVD) DVD+R DL 8.5GB, DVD video, DVD-5, DVD-9, DVD-10, DVD-18, DVD+RW 4.7GB, DVD+R 4.7GB, DVD-RW 4.7GB (Closed Session), DVD-R 4.7GB (CD) CD-DA, CD-ROM XA (ml, m2fl/m2f2), CD-R, CD-RW, Bootable CD, Photo CD (Single & Multi session), Video CD, Super Video CD, CD-Extra, Mixed-mode CD, CD-Text, CD-Graphics

If all the specs above weren't enough and you are looking for even more BenQ DVD drive information then check out DvdInfo It lists every detail I could think of, and some I couldn't. There is both a freeware and a professional version. Among other things, this pic shows that the BenQ DW1620 uses RPC-2 region control, can be changed five times, and the region code is as of yet unset.

DVDInfo

Box Contents:

The BenQ DW1620 arrived in a typical retail box with Styrofoam inserts. In addition to the drive were four mounting screws, two quick start guides, and software. The software contained was Sonic RecordNow, InterVideo, WinCinema, BenQ Qvideo 2.0, Book type management, as well as the usual electronic users manual. I must admit I was disappointed to see that BenQ included RecordNow instead of the more popular Nero. Back in the day I was a big fan of RecordNow software, but lately it seems to have fallen a bit behind feature-wise.

BenQ Front     BenQ Rear

Installing the BenQ DW1620, and the bundled software came off without a hitch. Windows XP correctly recognized the drive with no problems as a BenQ DVD DD DW1620. No surprises there. I do wish the drive would have had a SATA interface instead of the still-popular IDE interface, since I was really looking forward to getting rid of that one remaining bulky IDE cable. In all fairness to BenQ here, though, the only manufacturer I am aware of that is currently shipping a SATA DVD burner is Plextor and that unit is quite a lot more expensive than this one.

BenQ Properties

For DVD benchmarking I burned an 4.35GB ISO of “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” using the bundled RecordNow software and some cheap Memorex 16X DVD+R media. Writing of the disc was completed in 5:58. For fun I also tried to burn a few CDRs since they are so cheap and using a DVD for a few hundred MEG seems quite a waste of money, unfortunately CD burning consistently provided errors no matter the disc brand or speed type, no matter whether I used the bundled software, or the generic XP burning function. After speaking with a rep from BenQ and trying the suggested updated firmware it was determined my particular unit was likely defective and it was quickly replaced, the new unit functioned without incident. If I was to venture a guess as to what was wrong I would say the CDR Laser was probably defective. While it is never ideal to have to RMA a product it was reassuring to see how quick and painless the BenQ RMA process was, unlike many other manufacturers I have dealt with.

While writing a DVD in less than six minutes is quite an accomplishment, what most impressed me with the BenQ 1620 is that it didn't exhibit any of the quirks the other burners I have used in the past have had. That means that I haven't yet burned any bad discs--DVD or CD--even though I normally use the computer while burning, I also haven't had a problem burning in any of the supported formats listed, which seems to be most all of them but DVD RAM. For comparison my last drive wouldn't burn DVD-R media even though it claimed to support that format. All the movies I have made have played fine in my old stand alone DVD player, which is also a first for me I might add. That's a good thing, too, since the BenQ, like most other DVD burners I have used, has chosen to not include a headphone jack on the front of the burner--my preferred method for watching DVDs on the PC. I know I wasn't the only one using that jack and I hope if enough people complain it will return.

Conclusion:

The BenQ 1620 is fast and reliable and in my system at least doesn't burn any drink coasters. In short, it is most everything that I wanted in a DVD writer. As a bonus it also offers fairly quiet operation, barely audible above the ambient noise of my PC. Either that, or the high-pitched whine of all those damn delta fans has finally rendered me deaf.

Pros:

  • Supports wide variety of formats
  • Over speed media writing
  • Face plate available in different colors
  • Good customer service

Cons:

  • First unit wouldn't burn CDs
  • Sonic RecordNow software no Nero
  • Not SATA

I would like to thank Computer Geeks for providing us the BenQ DW1620 for review. Since the review was completed it seems that this drive now ships with Nero erasing one of my beefs. This item can be purchased for $45.50 from Geeks, or for a few bucks more you can purchase the newer BenQ DW1625 which comes with LightScribe.

Geeks

Added: September 3rd 2005
Reviewer: JimAdkins
Score: 8  
Related Link: BenQ
Hits: 12702
Language: english

  

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